Dear Friends and Family,
As we approach the Christmas holiday and the year comes to a close, I want to express my gratitude for each of you. I appreciate your resilience and optimism in the face of the difficulties presented by the pandemic. I look forward to 2022 and the possibilities and hope that comes with a new year. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Uintah Basin Rail
A new 85-mile rail line in Utah, Carbon, Duchesne, and Uintah counties was recently approved by the Federal Surface Transportation Board. This is excellent news for our state. The Uintah Basin Railway Project will connect more markets, make Utah more competitive on a national scale and provide additional jobs. The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition spearheaded the project to assist economic growth in the region. Read more here.
Earlier this month, the Executive Appropriations Committee adopted budget recommendations that focus on Utah’s long-term wellbeing. The state’s thriving economy, fiscally conservative policies and forward-thinking rainy-day funds allowed our state to navigate recent economic uncertainties. Though we successfully weathered the most recent economic downturn, we remain committed to ensuring Utah is well-prepared for future needs by making strategic investments and smart budget decisions. Early this year, the Legislature provided nearly $100 million in tax cuts to Utahns and recently set aside an additional $160 million to reduce taxes again. We also plan to increase education funding and finance water conservation efforts. As we look at the budget, we will make decisions that will not burden future generations and will instead prepare our state for continued success. Read more here.
Our state has been working to prevent Biden’s questionably unconstitutional vaccine mandates from being enforced in Utah. Over the last month, we have seen some big wins on this front as well as challenges that will need to be overcome. Currently, the enforcement of the government vaccine mandate for federal contractor employees is halted after a federal district court in Georgia issued a nationwide preliminary injunction. Additionally, a U.S. district court in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction, halting the enforcement of the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in Utah. However, a recent ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals opened the door for enforcement of the vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees. As it stands, Utah is not subject to the nationwide OSHA vaccine mandate because the Utah Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not adopted the rule. Utah Attorney General Reyes will continue to work to fight the courts on this issue and is joining 26 other states in filing an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. Individuals should have the choice to make medical decisions, and as a state, we will do our part to ensure freedoms are upheld.
COVID-19 Vaccine & Treatment
The CDC and FDA authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 booster doses for individuals 16 and older. Anyone 16 or older who received their Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago is eligible for a booster shot. Learn more about the booster dose here. Find a vaccine location here.
Utahns are unnecessarily hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 because they are unaware of treatment options. Monoclonal Antibody Treatment is available in Utah and continues to prevent hospitalization and death in those who test positive for COVID-19. Learn more about the treatment here. Find a treatment center here.
Until next time,
Senator Ronald Winterton